Bid to ban private contractors from hated PIP assessments

Medical assessment

Amendments to be tabled to social security bill banning private companies undertaking assessments on disabled people 

21st March 2017 by Robert Armour 9 Comments

Moves are being made to ban cash-raking companies from carrying out despised and humiliating benefits assessments.

A Labour MSP has tabled amendments to the social security bill in a bid block private contractors from ruling on whether people should be paid the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP). 

The move comes as campaigners again attacked the Scotish Government over its failure to halt "inhumane" disability assesments.

Mark Griffin, Labour’s social security spokesperson, warned an estimated 140,000 Scots will be assessed for PIP by the time a Scottish social security system is in place. 

And he vowed: "Labour will seek to change the law in the Scottish Parliament to use the new social security powers of the Scottish Parliament to kick the private sector out of our social security system."  

Last month TFN revealed how the despised assessments would continue wreaking misery on disabled Scots despite new welfare powers allowing the Scottish Government to halt them.

PIP tests are carried out by Atos and Capita while much of the Scottish work is completed by Atos contractors Salus, a branch of NHS Lanarkshire.

Assessments have been blamed for people taking their own lives as well as heaping stress, anxiety and depression on already vulnerable claimants.

But social security minister Jeane Freeman said she would allow the DWP to continue to undertake the process saying a new Scots’ system would be in place by 2021.

Griffin said: "We can end these cruel and inhumane assessments that have piled misery on vulnerable Scots.  

"The SNP’s decision to delay the powers means that 140,000 Scots will be assessed under the current system – that is why Labour wants it ensured in law that there is no place for private contractors in Scotland’s social security system.  

“The Scottish Parliament can radically change Scotland to create a fairer, better country for all of us, it’s time to move beyond the warm words on social security and use the powers we have.”

Craig Happendon of the Anti-Cuts Alliance said the figures proved that while a new social security system was eagerly anticipated, Scottish ministers had to do more to halt the “inhumanity” of the current assessment regime.

“The Scottish Government talks about creating a fairer system but it is doing nothing to stop the inhumanity of these assessments.

“There are a lot of warm words being spoken and a lot of political capital made around this while thousands of disabled people suffer. Why won’t the government stop the assessments now? 

Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin

“Ministers need challenged on this. The Scottish Government is failing disabled people.”  

However, Jeane Freeman said that the new system would treat “everyone… with dignity and respect in every aspect” and that no one would lose out in the transfer of payments.

She added: “It would make more sense for amendments to be talked about when the social security bill is introduced and scrutinised in the Scottish Parliament at the end of June.”

Last month, the Scottish Government’s own consultation on social security revealed a “strong consensus that services should not be delivered through the private sector or profit making agencies, with the majority of respondents in agreement that social security should be delivered through existing public sector or third sector organisations.”

Bill Scott, director of policy at Inclusion Scotland, said not all of the 140,000 will lose money on being re-assessed for PIP but all will potentially experience stress through being subjected to the assessment process.

“Some will stay on the same amount of benefits, a few will see an increase in the amount that they receive and a substantial proportion will lose some or all of their benefits,” he said.  

“The total number projected to lose some or all benefits on being reassessed is 105,000 (55% of those being transferred) which means approximately 70,000 or so have already been transferred.

“So based on projections around 75,000 of the 140,000 still awaiting transfer will lose some or all of their entitlement when they are reassessed for PIP. 

“All of them will probably experience stress and worry though.”

Comments

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21st March 2017 by Jean heale

Have just been re assessed from being on top level for two years And getting a top mark my pips has been stopped and I got a score of zero my condition osteo arthitus in all joints has got worse not better my husband has even installed a kitchen complete with microwave upstairs because I have difficulty with stairs I'm devastated I live with continual pain I can't even change bedding my daughter does that for me Also the asser said he viewed me drinking a hot cup of tea I did not consume any drink while he was here

21st March 2017 by William Douglas

When a charity takes of a state contract, are they too 'cash-raking'? Or does this pejorative term only apply to the private sector?

21st March 2017 by Susan Clarke

I was really assed by some one from atos and it got off to a bad start her being late for my appointment and her having a bad day so far anyhow she blatantly lied and said I'd bent down to pull my trouser leg down even though I've got osteoarthritis so therefore having my pip stopped so i am now disputing the design

22nd March 2017 by Amanda R Clark

My pip medical was a farce she was late.not that pleasant.told me because i didnt say ouch every time i moved or squealed in pain i couldnt be suffering .. she lied about me.. said i heard everything she said because i had my hearing aids in ...no i didnt.. i have cancer. P.t.s.d severe depression suicidal tendencies..danger of self harm .. arthritis .. fibromialgia .. migraines ..ibs .degenerative discs in my back .. black outs..left side doesnt work well due to stroke n surgery for 2 lots of cancer.i have learning difficulties ..ocd.i walk with a walking stick .my ex visits daily to help me out of bed if i go to bed.i have had 15 hours sleep in the last 3 weeks . i had mental health support but with the cuts to my pip i cant afford them any more.. im already living on food parcels and money borrowed from friends .. it sucks but no one listens or cares ..

22nd March 2017 by Bill campbell

The Government say in their literature that DLA is a working age benefit that can be claimed by adults between the ages of 16 - 64. However, people born after 8th April 1948 will be reassessed for PIP. That means there are people approaching their 69th Birthday who may be left in an unacceptable state of anxiety and stress waiting for the letter to come through their letter box. This must be an appalling strain on older disabled people who would have no way of getting out of the isolation and poverty that would come from losing some or all of their DLA. People in the twilight of their lives would be abandoned by this government. Where would they end up? In a care home or hospital, which would be more expensive, or even worse. Will the Scottish Government address this appalling attack on vulnerable older people?

22nd March 2017 by Andrew Bundy

This news story was selected by google so I am not sure of the source, but why should Scottish people have legislation to protect them from a discriminatory and inhumane system, as will, I am sure, those in Wales and NI, when those of us in England are stuck with the worst and cheapest so as to fund the devolved region.We all vote, we all pay taxes, how is it when we all pay the same, us in England end up worst off?I may be wrong in my perception of this, but where is the English devolution movement, and if we gained the same, only fair, status, who would pay for everyone else. Part of me thinks we should break up the union and move to separate countries. That would be fair, wouldn't it?

22nd March 2017 by Simon

And what about how it's affecting English people? Or will this be another case of racism against the English people such as prescriptions etc?

30th March 2017 by Keith Francis Farrell

Strange because I heard the very same thing from the Scottish government. They want assessments based on medical reports and doctors advice. As all the information regarding our health is already in the hands of the assesors I think labour are just trying to claim responsibility for something that is planned by the Scottish government. I have it all in a voice recording of the plans some months ago including the fact that the hold up on having these benefits passed to the government were held up by the minister refusing to sign the transfer agreement and the Scottish government were not prepared to accept responsibility until the correct undertakings were in writing. To protect US the disabled population. Sad that the Westminster government has chosen to retain the ESA controls. The real problem is that westminister still wants to keep a stick in hand to beat us. (The disabled) ESA should not be the name use for those of us with serious health issues that will not change. We are unlikely to ever get back into full employment again. I don't know from day to day if I will be able to walk and cope or if I am going to be in so much pain that I'm going to stay inside all day.

19th July 2017 by angus ramsay

when is atos health care to be disbanded they are put peoples rights and lifes in danger. They don't care the hurt they do to people bring back dwp dla system it was more fair.